Fr. Booth’s “Words of Wisdom”

Seeing the Light

The 24-day struggle to restore full water flow to the church has been nothing less than an epic saga. Getting the Water Works to recognize that their 91 year-old pipe from the water main to the water meter was almost totally clogged was no small ordeal. The word nightmare comes to mind. Given all of the evidence, even evidence from their own technicians, they were briefly swayed into recognizing the problem only to revert to constant refrain that it was our problem, not theirs. Thankfully, someone saw the light and the line was replaced on Thursday. Finally.

There seems to be a special human ability to be confronted with evidence and fail to see what the evidence means. We are seeing that in Washington now. That the evidence is so weak and is just so much hearsay supposedly about high crimes and misdemeanors that are neither crimes nor misdemeanors matters not to some because they are blinded by any number of biases and prejudices, perhaps even raw hatred. Emotions, the party line, love of the limelight, contempt for the truth, and lust for power rarely lead to justice. God never meant for man to put aside our intellect so as to be swayed by irrational fears and passions. We were meant to see the truth and act upon it accordingly. Failing to use our intellects and our wills appropriately is to betray our humanity and to live more like mere beasts.

This is hardly a new thing. How could slavery have happened? How could the Holocaust have happened? How could the killing fields of Cambodia have happened? How could ethnic cleansing have happened? How could the brutality of ISIS have happened? None of these things, and countless others atrocities, can be defended on the basis of evidence, logic, or truth. And yet seemingly reasonable and intelligent men thought these examples of human barbarity, or more accurately inhuman barbarity, were totally and completely reasonable.

It should not surprise us that this also applies to the ongoing evil of abortion, which has plagued this land now for 47 years. In 1973 they certainly knew less than we do today, but certain facts were then known that made abortion a clearly immoral and barbaric act. Was there life in the womb as known in 1973? It would be impossible to claim otherwise. Yes, in the Middle Ages there was speculation that the unborn baby came to life only later in the pregnancy when the mother began to feel the baby move, but that ancient ignorance of the facts is hardly an excuse to suppose in 1973 and especially today that the baby is not alive at any time of the pregnancy. Was that life in the womb, again as known in 1973, non-human? From what was clearly understood then, the unborn baby was known to be human, albeit not yet fully formed. The baby, even when it is merely a single living cell right after conception, is a living creature with unmistakably human DNA.

Thus, from a medical and scientific standpoint, the baby in the womb is a living human being and there exists no medical or scientific evidence, known in 1973 or today, that even slightly suggests otherwise. If people are horrified at Herod’s slaughter of the innocents, his brutal attempt to kill the newborn King of the Jews; at Pharaoh’s call to murder all of the Jewish boys at the time Moses’ birth, a ploy to weaken the strength of people he held captive; or at any school shooting happening in our own time, then how can the killing of millions of innocent babies in the womb not be repulsive to all people of good will? That abortion is legal is no excuse: so was slavery, so was the Holocaust.

The only possible excuse for abortion hinges on whether the baby is a person and therefore has rights under the law. Legally speaking, those enslaved in Egypt under the Pharaoh and those enslaved here in the United States were property, not persons. However, cats and dogs, while not persons, even have a degree of protection under the law. It is illegal to destroy a bald or golden eagle egg, which carries a fine of $5,000 and imprisonment for up to one year, and an un-hatched eagle is not a person either. But given the emotion and money behind abortion, it may take generations for people to see the light and acknowledge the facts. It does not even require a declaration of personhood for unborn babies since we afford legal protection nonhuman life even prior to birth. If a bald eagle is a bald eagle inside our outside of the egg, then why isn’t a baby a human both inside and outside of the womb?

—Fr Booth